strange_complex: (Me as a child)
I spent this afternoon celebrating my 35th birthday (which actually happens on Tuesday) with a lovely group of friends and colleagues on St. George's Field in Leeds. This is in fact a disused cemetery, though it looks for all the world now like a beautiful garden enclave, all manicured lawns and weeping willows - but with clusters of Victorian Gothic funerary monuments and a neo-Classical chapel for good measure:

35 St George's Field picnic 1 35 St George's Field picnic 2 35 St George's Field picnic 3 35 St George's Field picnic 4

Although it is right in the middle of the University campus, it is hemmed in by buildings and high stone walls, so that even a lot of people who live and work right by it have no idea it is there. So this idyllic enclave was all ours for the afternoon, with barely a distant passer-by in sight. Well, that is until it began to spit with rain - but even then it was hardly a problem, since we were so close to the current (temporary) home of the Classics department that we could just go and carry on drinking in an enormous unused student common room instead!

Very many thanks to all those who came bearing houmous, parma ham parcels and home-make cakes, and sweetly sang 'Happy birthday' to me, and discussed everything from Burke and Hare to Higher Education policy, including [livejournal.com profile] glitzfrau, [livejournal.com profile] ms_siobhan, [livejournal.com profile] planet_andy and [livejournal.com profile] kissmeforlonger - and of course many others WANOLJ. It was just the birthday picnic I'd envisioned - so thank you for coming along and making it possible. :-)

Click here if you would like view this entry in light text on a dark background.

strange_complex: (Me Art Deco)
Three years ago, I had just moved into my current house, and jointly celebrated that event and my 31st birthday with a 1920s and '30s-themed housewarming party. Lots of my friends and colleagues came along, as did some of the cheekier neighbourhood cats, and a marvellous time indeed was had.

This year, I decided it was time for a similar celebration to mark my 34th birthday (which is actually on Monday this year), but this time based around a barbecue and without the period theme. 'Cos dressing up is fun, but you can't do the same thing every time. A man turned up from Sainsbury's with eight boxes full of STUFF at 10 o'clock on Saturday morning, and I sprang into action - chopping vegetables, marinading meat, threading things onto skewers and (most importantly) mixing cocktails!

The weather looked decidedly shady for most of the day, but thankfully around 3pm rays of sunshine started to appear, and by the time my first few guests arrived the skies were blue and almost cloudless. My colleague's children ran around the garden while we got the barbecues going (two of them, because they were only diddy ones), and began grilling the first few burgers. And after that everything became a bit of a blur as people arrived, and handed me presents and cards, and I whirled around the place making sure everyone had drinks and introducing people to each other and so forth. But it was a very nice blur! I just have a kind of vague general impression of being surrounded by lovely people all being witty and sociable and exciting and beautiful all around me, and lots of hugs and laughter and (though I say it myself) delicious food and so forth.

Around 9ish it began drizzling a little, but that was OK really, as most people had finished with the barbecues by then, so we just carried on the party inside. An interesting spontaneous gender division occurred, as most of the ladies present ended up in the kitchen discussing various types of relationships, while most of the gentlemen were in the dining room discussing joke websites. But hey - both rooms seemed to be having an awesomely good time, so that is fine. Then around 11ish most of the further-flung guests decided it was about time they started their journeys home, so the scene shifted again to a more intimate gathering of myself, [livejournal.com profile] ant_girl, [livejournal.com profile] ms_siobhan and [livejournal.com profile] planet_andy, chilling out in the lounge discussing serial killers for another hour or so.

And now this morning, here I am browsing through last night's photos, eating delicious Belgian chocolates which somebody gave me and generally basking in the afterglow of a most excellent evening. Many thanks to everyone who came, and especially those who helped keep an eye on the barbecue, which I could not really have managed on my own alongside meeting and greeting everyone and generally being the charming hostess. I'm slightly delicate today, and unlikely to move terribly far from the sofa, but it was definitely all worth it. Give me another three years, and I might be ready to do it again... ;-)

Photos follow under the cut )

Oh, and if anyone wants the recipe for the marsala peaches we had, and on which I got several compliments, Delia is your lady. I shall be enjoying the few which were left over with my lunch today. :-)

Click here if you would like view this entry in light text on a dark background.

strange_complex: (Me Art Deco)
On Saturday, I reached the grand old age of thirty-two, and went on an outing to Castle Howard to celebrate. I had [livejournal.com profile] redkitty23 and her partner, Vincent, as house-guests for the weekend (en route to a Primatology conference in Edinburgh), so we were able to pile into Anna's cute little retro-style Fiat 500, swoop [livejournal.com profile] big_daz up from Wortley, and head off out into the countryside.

At first, we were guided on our way by 'Ken', the Australian voice on Anna's Tom Tom, but he unfortunately let us down by taking us straight into an all-but-stationary traffic jam going past York. Luckily, however, we had an alternative Yorkshire navigation system available to us: Daz Daz, armed with Local Knowledge and a road atlas. And so it was that we found ourselves bowling through Georgian brick-built villages and along sunlit country lanes, listening to The Cure while our hair whipped around in an invigorating breeze, and only got to Castle Howard half an hour later than Ken had said we would. [livejournal.com profile] snapesbabe and [livejournal.com profile] matgb, alas, were not so lucky, and despite gallant efforts to join us were eventually forced to turn back before they had even arrived. :-(

And this was a great pity, not only because it deprived me of the opportunity to lust over their new purple Ka, but also because Castle Howard is ace! It really is a stately home par excellence, with expansive grounds, beautiful formal gardens, fountains, peacocks, endless opulent drawing rooms, rococo furniture, plutocratic portraits and so on. But I think what I liked best about it was the extensive collections of Classical sculpture (which seemed to go on and on in every hallway and corridor), and the answering neo-Classicism of the building itself and the works of art which adorned it. It began to feel as though you couldn't turn a corner without seeing something Classical or Classically-inspired: which is quite frankly exactly how I think the world should be. ;-)

Anyway, a day like that is probably best told in pictures, rather than words, so here are some of my favourite photos from our outing )

... and if you liked those, you can see the full gallery here.

As we left in the late afternoon (Ken still relegated to the boot in favour of Daz Daz), Anna suggested that we should eat out in the evening. I'd planned to cook us a casserole, but who would cook on their birthday when friends were offering to take them out instead, eh? So we ended up at Jino's, where we guzzled delicious Thai food, and the waiters put a candle in my ice-cream when Anna told them it was my birthday, and then returned home to mine for frighteningly potent cocktails.

Presents were mainly books from my family, but Anna got me a beautiful orchid, while Daz (who clearly knows me far too well) got me an enamel K-9 pendant like the ones shown below (just one, though!), and my parents got me a Tiffany floor lamp to go in my dining-room:

Presenty goodness )

So, all told, an excellent day, and some nice mementos of it to take away with me. So far, I'm enjoying being 32. It feels like a nice solid, self-confident age to be - properly into my 30s, in contrast to 31, which felt a bit apologetic about it. It's also a multiple of eight, which I've always thought of as being 'my' number - not necessarily my lucky number, but just the number that signifies me. As being born on the 2nd of the 8th and growing up in a house with the number 82 will tend to make you think...

Here's to my thirty-secondthird year on this planet, then. I intend to make the most of it.

strange_complex: (Me Half Age party)
Well, that was an absolutely lovely birthday.

I spent the morning loafing around in my dressing gown, opening presents, responding to LJ comments and setting up a Scrabble game on Facebook. My sister had sent me a Porpora CD from my Amazon wish-list that I'd wanted for ages, so I'm really happy about that although I haven't listened to it yet, as well as a brilliant book on Art Deco houses, which wasn't on my wish-list, but was a really excellent choice. I spent ages sitting on the sofa, poring over it wonder and awe, and occasionally getting to say things like, "Ooh, my window catches are like that!" It's great, and will be a very handy guide to choosing the right sorts of rugs, light-shades and so on.

Mum and Dad had also sent me a couple of CDs, but they weren't my 'real' present - just copies they'd made, in fact. No, my real present is this lamp:

Pic under here )

It's stood for years in a pub in the centre of Birmingham, where my Dad likes to go on a Saturday afternoon to mark people's PhD theses, and whose landlady he has become good chums with over the years. So of course he told her about my new house, and she'd already said that if he ever wanted any of the nick-nacks in the pub, he just had to make an offer. And he did! It's not here yet, but it looks like Dad will be making another visit late next week to help me sort my curtains out, so he will probably bring it with him then.

After lunch, I finally got dressed, and headed into town for some Serious Shopping. Two pairs of shoes, innumerable hair accessories and biscuits and a large roll of fabric later, I arrived in the Swan so laden down with packages I was having trouble getting through doors, to be joined by no less than six lovely friends. And since I'd only decided to do anything on my actual birthday at 1pm that day, I was touched beyond belief that so many people were willing to come out and join me with only 4 hours' notice. I think that's a real sign of being properly settled in here now, if I have friends who'll do that.

Finally headed home at about 7pm, and then just whiled away the rest of the evening eating my dinner, watching House and working out how to use the staple-gun I've bought in order to re-cover my dining chairs. Just perfect, really.

Birthday dinner

Wednesday, 3 August 2005 14:26
strange_complex: (Roast duck)
Last night I marked my 29th birthday by meeting up with some people in Duke's, going on for dinner at Scalini's and then returning to Duke's for further drinking and chatting at the end of the evening. I had a fabulous time - the food was delicious, the company delightful and lots of lovely people kept giving me presents and cards! Thanks so much to everyone who came and helped me to celebrate.

Scalini's is an Italian restaurant, which I picked as a venue because it has a good range of food and was pretty central and convenient for most people who would be coming. I didn't expect it to be as busy as it was last night - on a Tuesday night, I'd pretty much assumed our party of 11 would account for a good quarter of the clientele. But far from it - in fact the place was heaving, and although it was hard to tell how many people were there because it is so big and has so many different levels and nooks and crannies to it, I'd say our lot probably constituted more like about 5% of the people in there.

Loving and detailed descriptions of the food ) Inspired by [livejournal.com profile] rentaghost31, I took a picture of the profiteroles on my phone to record their gigantitude for posterity, but I don't have any way to get the picture off the phone and into this entry. If there's anyone out there who could get it off their own phone and email it to me if I texted it to them, I would be most grateful!

Finally, the evening was rounded off with Baileys back in Duke's, after a slight change of personnel as some people headed home and others joined us after an evening's role-playing. We enjoyed listening to Alan's tales of near-death experiences, watching [livejournal.com profile] thebiomechanoid bite people and generally bantering and laughing until gone midnight. Sorry I couldn't then come on and play games with those people who went off to do so - I was tempted, but restraint proved to be a good thing in the end, as I'm at least relatively compos mentis today for doing more work on my book.

Profile

strange_complex: (Default)
strange_complex

October 2017

M T W T F S S
      1
2345678
910111213 14 15
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031     

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Tuesday, 17 October 2017 11:10
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios